Jim Nelson taught me one of the greatest lessons for a teacher: People don't like being surprised. He would give examples of how simple problems had been blown out of proportion because one party hadn't talked to another. In fact, I think he actually wrote a song about it :)
My beef with teachers, parents and kids is: in today's social world, what excuse is there for not finding someway to communicate with each other? We can use Twitter, Engrade, email, BBM, text, phone and god forbid face to face :) Set up a distribution list with parent emails... have your students create a class newsletter of upcoming events in your class (When tests are, showcases of student work, etc...), give our your twitter handle at meet the creature night :)
No one likes to know on the last day of classes that their son or daughter is failing. Kids are often to ashamed (or in my case, too delusional) to tell mom and dad about poor performance. If you want to stop all 90% of your issues with parents... just communicate better.